FIGHTING FOR THE FUTURE

WILL AMERICA TRIUMPH?

A collection of essays by top-selling Peters, author of A Perfect Soldier (1995). Reprinted from such military-science publications as Parameters, Army Times, and Strategic Review, these essays pose major questions about America’s military preparedness to fight the type of conflicts likely to arise in the 21st century, those involving terrorist organizations (both independent and state-sponsored), ethnic strife, and an emerging Third World. Peters examines such possibilities with a sharp eye and then considers the ways in which the American armed forces are preparing to fight them. While his analysis is cogent, his conclusions—for example, that the spectacularly expensive weapons systems being produced today are designed to combat Cold War enemies that no longer exist—are hardly as shocking or controversial as he himself would have the reader believe. (In fact, as long as there has been a military, there have been critics to point out flaws in preparedness.) While Peters is a reasonably proficient writer, his essays are marred by trite epigrams placed throughout the text, offering such no-brainer musings as “Revolutions happen, above all, in the minds of men” and “If there is a single power the West underestimates, it is the power of collective hatred.” When the author gets down to specific topics, such as the future of armored warfare or soldiering in an urban environment, he is at his best; unfortunately these sections form only a small portion of the book. And Peters’s prose is pedantic, clichÇ-ridden, and repetitive. In general, the average reader will be as entranced as if reading a military-science dissertation.

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8117-0651-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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